If you're looking for a nutritious meal that doesn't break the bank it might be worth heading over to McDonald's. At least that is what one man is claiming.
But while it might sound like a tall order, it has certainly got people talking.
The claim was made by Ralph Thomas to Freakonomics authors and radio broadcasters, who are known for showing 'the hidden side of everything' by fitting economics to popular culture.
His email read: "It has been my gut-level (sorry, pun) feeling for a while now that the McDonald’s McDouble, at 390 Calories, 23g of protein, 7 percent of daily fiber, 20 per cent of daily calcium and iron, etc., is the cheapest, most nutritious, and bountiful food that has ever existed in human history."
His claims may have ended there, but it certainly got the Freakonomics authors thinking, and so they put the topic up for discussion as part of their 'A Burger A Day' radio podcast.
Ever since nutrition experts have been queuing up to have their say and responses have been largely divided.
Senior nutritionist Aloysa Hourigan told MSN that a serious flaw in the claim is the fat and salt content of the burger.
"Even though it may supply some nutrients – we also need to remember that it includes a high amount of saturated fat and salt (sodium) – as do most takeaway fast foods – and food is not very healthy for us if it is high in saturated fat and salt.
"It is very common to purchase this burger along with a serve of ‘fries’ and soft drink – which further raised the saturated fat, kilojoules, sodium and adds in unhealthy amounts of added sugars as well."
Commenting in the New York Times Kyle Smith says that those opposing the idea of the McDouble's nutritional worth, are ignoring the fact that it is great value-for-money for customers.
"The outraged replies to the notion of McDouble supremacy comes from the usual coalition of class snobs," he said.
"I say usual because these people are forever proclaiming their support for the poor and for higher minimum wages that would supposedly benefit McDonald's workers. But they're completely heartless when it comes to the other side of the equation: cost."
He added: "'For the average poor person, it isn’t a great option to take a trip to the farmers market to puzzle over esoteric lefty-foodie codes. (Is sustainable better than organic? What if I have to choose between fair trade and cruelty-free?) Produce may seem cheap to environmentally aware blond moms who spend $300 on their highlights every month, but if your object is to fill your belly, it is hugely expensive per calorie"
"Junk food costs as little as $1.76 per 1,000 calories, whereas fresh veggies and the like cost more than 10 times as much, found a 2007 University of Washington survey for the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. A 2,000-calorie day of meals would, if you stuck strictly to the good-for-you stuff, cost $36.32, said the study’s lead author, Adam Drewnowski."
What do you make of the claim? Let us know in the comments below.